What are the principal advantages of creating a conceptual design model using masses before diving into the detailed design and building element modeling?
Looking at the shape of something and being able to adjust that before landing on a final design is really important. When using masses, the designer can just pick large shapes and weave them together. Otherwise, they would have to build walls, floors, roofs, etc. just to be able to see what the shape of the building might look like. Following that, if the designer doesn't like it, every time they want to reiterate a new design they have to change all of those aspects, whereas when using masses you just have to change the parameters of the mass.
Should all buildings be modeled first using conceptual masses?
For complex buildings, I believe that modeling should first happen using conceptual masses. When you have a building with many floors, walls, etc. being able to change it as simply as possible is key. However, when building something small, like a small house or shed, etc. it isn't always necessary to use a mass. When the designer knows the building will be a certain chape or a simple design, they don't need to use conceptual masses to design it because putting walls and roofs up is not a complicated matter. However, when trying to design something very conceptual and complex. using the conceptual masses is much easier for the designer, not only when putting the design down in the first place, but changing it down the line throughout the process.